Comments on Weekly Unemployment Claims

Earlier: Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims unchanged at 884,000

This was the 25th consecutive week with extraordinarily high initial claims.

More importantly, continued claims are still extremely high (second graph below).

The following graph shows regular initial unemployment claims (blue) and PUA claims (red) since early February (all NSA).

Click on graph for larger image.

Initial claims, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are rising, and are close to 1.7 million per week.

The worst week during the great recession was 665,000 (SA). So total initial weekly claims are still more than 1 million higher than the worst week of the great recession!

We are probably seeing some layoffs related to  the end of some Payroll Protection Programs (PPP), and possibly due to the fires in the West.

The second graph shows all person receiving unemployment insurance benefits on all programs. Note that this data is released with a two week lag, and is not seasonally adjusted.

There are typically around 2 million people receiving benefits from the various programs (mostly regular unemployment insurance).

As of the release this morning, there were still almost 30 million people receiving benefits as of August 22nd.

This was a very disappointing weekly report. Initial claims were higher than expected, and there was a further increase in initial claims (regular and PUA), and the total continued claims increased – and remains at a very high level.

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